Local survivor shares powerful message on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Kansas City, Mo. — Exactly 76 years ago, Russian forces liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp known as Auschwitz.

It’s a place where local 95-year-old Sonia Warshawski spent many unforgettable days during the Holocaust.

“When I came there, they had four gas chambers and four crematoriums, later on they built a fifth one, the loudest one,” Warshawski told FOX4.

Warshawski is one of the most outspoken Holocaust survivors in the metro region. A recent documentary about her life, “Big Sonia,” captured several awards. But on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Warshawski is still making sure that people never forget.

“Seeing those babies and children, I myself received horrible beatings and watching people dying –why I survived, it’s a miracle by itself,” Warshawski said.

Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Jessica Rockhold, executive director for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, said there’s a reason Auschwitz retains iconic stature.

“In the postwar years, Auschwitz has become the iconic image of the Holocaust,” Rockhold said. “It represents the peak of Nazi efficiency and their most modernized killing methods.”

Rockhold argues, sadly, the lessons of the Holocaust are as relevant today as ever.

“We know that reported anti-Semitic incidents are at a 40-year high, and the reason it’s a 40-year high is because that’s how long we’ve been collecting that data.”

It’s why Sonia Warshawski has made it a personal crusade to make sure people never forget.

“This is my responsibility because, as a witness, we are only 15 I think left, survivors in Kansas City,” Warshawski said. “This is my duty.”

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